The 5 Main Wedding Dress Silhouettes
Shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most exciting parts of preparing for your special day, but it’s also one of the most stressful. After all, these are memories (and photos) that are going to last a lifetime, so it’s only natural that you should want to look and feel your very best.
When it comes to the majority of wedding dresses, there are 5 main silhouettes that the designer will use as their starting point and then expand on from there.
Knowing what silhouette you want can make the process of finding your dress that much easier, helping quickly narrow down your options until you find the dress of your dreams.
Here are the 5 main wedding dress silhouettes, their design features and what body types they flatter the most.
A-line wedding dresses were popularised by both Christina Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, and are fitted above and around the hips but then flare out into an A-shaped skirt. This gives a flattering and streamlined look, perfect for all body types as it emphasises the waist and draws the eyes upwards.
For smaller brides, A-line dresses create the illusion of some extra height and for those with curves, it draws attention to your waist in all the right ways. Compared to other more grandiose silhouettes, A-line wedding dresses are a little more subtle and demure while still radiating grace and elegance.
Also known as the fishtail silhouette, mermaid dresses come with a fitted bodice that hugs the body tightly around the torso and hips until it begins to expand around the knee line. They also tend to be strapless (although there are exceptions) and can be admittedly hard to walk in at times, which is why many brides tend to wear them for the ceremony but change into something more functional for the reception.
Mermaid dresses are great at creating additional curves, so if you already have natural curves make sure to try on a mermaid dress in-store to see if you like how it accentuates your body type. Mermaid dresses tend to look great on taller brides, as the fishtail silhouette can make your legs look shorter if you don’t have natural height.
The ball gown is one of the most classic and over-the-top bridal silhouettes, coming with a fitted bodice, tightly cinched waist and a wide skirt that’s usually achieved using layers and layers of tulle.
Worn by high-profile brides such as Grace Kelly and Princess Diana, ball gowns can help bring out your inner princess and make sure all eyes are on you on your big day. Although they’re very traditional, there are plenty of ways to modernise a bridal ball gown and still look contemporary and cutting-edge with the right materials and detailing.
Fit and flare
Similar to the mermaid silhouette, fit and flare dresses flair just below the hip rather than around the knee. However, it still has that fitted bodice that hugs your body and accentuates your waist, giving you that beautiful hourglass figure.
Fit and flare dresses also tend to have small trains, adding that little bit of extra drama and excitement to an already glamorous design.
The sheath silhouette, also referred to as a column dress, is slim fitting and falls straight to the floor below the hips. They have a narrow and straight shape and don’t flair out, hugging the body tightly.
Sheath dresses tend to best suit slimmer body types, and can also help elongate more petite brides. A modern and sophisticated choice, sheath dresses can be kept minimalist or heightened by added lace or beading or with a long, dramatic cathedral-length veil.